The Neo1973 is the first physical manifestation of a grand idea -- a new breed of wireless handheld built for the open-source age.
Grand idea? Are you kidding? What's grand about this?
It is the first release from the OpenMoko project, a group working to create a fully open source software platform for smartphones, a community-driven alternative to, say, the iPhone. Using Linux as a starting point, the OpenMoko developers have built a system which, although not everyday-usable yet, can be successfully installed and run on a variety of ordinary smartphone hardware: Treos, Motorolas, JasJars and so forth.
What the heck is a JasJar? A product with a name like that should run equally crappy software.
There's no charger. It charges via a USB connection to my computer -- good enough. I powered on the phone and marveled at the scrolling screens of Linux bootup jargon, which terminated after a few seconds with the line, "Kernel panic."